Only donations should be from constituents

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I support Wayne M. Olson's proposal ("Making government representative," in the Empire on Aug. 8). A law requiring any campaign donations to an Alaska public office candidate must only come from his potential constituents is spot on. Olson's explanation and constitutional defense of such a law also is very lucid. Read it online, if you missed it.

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Olson's idea also applies and implements Alaska Constitution Article II Section 12, last line quote: "The Legislature shall regulate lobbying." If you prod them, most Alaska politicians will admit that they believe "lobbying is part of the fabric of democracy."

Sorry, you ignorant politicians. Lobbying owes its level of effectiveness to how highly centralized (in other words, focused into just a few people) the government is that lobbyists want to influence. Government of, by and for the people by definition cannot be highly centralized and, moreover, must be limited. Unfortunately, the old aristocracy/monarchy ideal of "having the ear of the lord/king" is now "having the ear of the caucus or legislative body leader." Therefore, actual implementation of Olson's idea would have more impact on government corruption than almost all the bubble gum, hair-splitting political ethics laws now on the books.

I disagree with Olson on just one point. Let's not wait for such a law. We can implement his idea directly at the ballot box. Constituents in each district simply have to possess enough democratic ethics to verify who they vote for is getting his campaign money only from their district. Or they can force their candidate to return questionable money as the price of their vote and support. Moreover, constituents can simply recall the hypocrite if it's discovered later that he somehow hid receipt of foreign money.

Furthermore, I challenge each citizen to apply this principle nationally so only American constituent campaign donations are accepted by presidential candidates. Currently, all the top-tier Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have accepted foreign interest money. Not a few have even traveled to foreign countries to butter up the lobbyists representing these foreign interests (example: Israel).

Let's get away from politics being a wallow in the mud.

Stuart Thompson


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